It is no question – the 2012 Cubs’ team has much unproven power if any power at all.
Regardless, expect the Cubs to improve on their last season win total where, under then manager Mike Quade, the team limped to the 71 game mark, finishing fifth in the central behind only the lonely Astros.
What has changed about the team you may ask? –well, other than Dale Sveum’s philosophy, nothing.
Outside of the many new faces populating the locker room, one thing is noticeably different about this years’ team - Svuem’s tendency to be aggressive on the base-paths. Something rarely witnessed by Cubs fans in the last decade or-so.
Even with the club’s fastest player Tony Campana being optioned to triple-A Iowa, the Cubs are ranked second among all other National League teams with 32 stolen bases on 50 attempts this spring. It is not a fast team by any means, but that isn’t stopping Sveum.
The first year manager’s base-running philosophy is not just limited to stealing the extra bag, but tagging and putting pressure on opposition’s defense as well.
A perfect example can be seen in Monday’s game where utility man Reed Johnson, aboard on third, reached home safely after tagging on a shallow pop fly to second base. According to Sveum, the team needs to be more aggressive to make up for its lack of power.
Yes, there will be base-path blunders this season that perhaps cost the team a run here and there but, overall, the new strategy could be just what the 2012 hodgepodge Cubs need.
In Sveum eyes, the benefits of being aggressive far outweigh its risks. The new management is truly looking for ways to create scoring opportunities this season, something seldom accused of teams past.
An outlandish strategy or a glimmer of hope? lets allow Thursday be the judge of that.